ANTANANARIVO: Clashes between armed bands of cattle rustlers and security forces have left 15 people dead in Madagascar including two paramilitary policemen, officials said yesterday.
The village tradition of young Malagasy men stealing prized humped zebu cattle to prove their virility and valour took a bloody turn after two separate incidents in the south-east of the island nation. Known as dahalos, about 80 of these men, armed with hunting rifles, took off with 150 zebu in the village of Tranomaro early yesterday morning, said paramilitary police general Lumene Fidele Rasolofo. “When the gendarmerie and villagers chased down the dahalos there was a confrontation ... and 13 dahalos were killed,” he said.
Then in another village called Mahaly, a second theft of 300 zebu led to a clash claiming two police officers.